An assignment from ENGL 105 at UNC, among one of the more moronic of their universal requirementsread more
To whom it may concern:
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, affecting Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand most heavily, has rubbled the infrastructure of each country that it has influenced. It is our interest to maximize the effect of our aid through careful planning based on anthropological data and currently required aid.
With over 1.69 million people displaced by the destruction of the Tsunami, it is a primary interest to provide these people with proper housing as the population density prior to the earthquake was already high enough to be an epidemical hazard, which is made only worse by the tropical climate of the affected areas. The deliverance of aid in the form of housing does not need to follow any anthropological guidelines other than the more epidemiological recommendation that living quarters are as low density as possible while still permitting admission to refugees and a possible quarantine of those who may be plagued by a contagious illness. Such relief will provide the affected peoples with a place to rebuild around, which is arguably more important than other aid such as food due to the ease with which it may be provided (simply marked tents are sufficient), the one-time assurance (shelter for a family can last as long as it may be needed), and finally it remedies the intangible psychological trauma accompanied by the destruction of one’s long time home.
It is an additional concern that some regions contain religious denominations that are “sensitive to cultural diversity” (un.or.th). For instance, Muslims and Sea Gypsies are not expected to be in close quarters with certain religious denominations or classes as conflict may arise (although it may be expected that religious discrimination is usually neglected in times of great struggle, it has been claimed by leaders of certain denominations that the origin of the disaster is divine punishment which enables the ascription of the disaster to a group of people, which would only increase the chances of conflict).
A high second priority is the deliverance of food to the affected areas. It is recommended that aid of this form be restricted by the use of beef products in its production, as the affected areas include many Hindus whose religion strictly restricts them from the consumption of beef products Puretravel (03/3). It is also in the affected people’s interest that the sources of food be as renewable as possible. That is, for regions whose agricultural damage was reasonably low, aid may be in the form of seeds to grow plants with fruit or, more likely, in regions whose aquatic life was unaffected or whose access to marine animals has remained the same, fishing utilities should be provided to provide not only instant relief but also long term relief. Ensuring this is important because it allows continual instant relief to be provided to those individuals who may not be able to provide themselves with food, which are likely those who were more heavily affected economically, socially, and environmentally, despite all the necessary utilities. While it may be difficult to provide relief in a similar diet to what existed before the disaster, it is preferred that regions whose main source of food was fish (it is estimated that 66% of the fishing fleet and fishing infrastructure was destroyed, which were an important source of food for local markets (FAO of UN)), continue to receive some amount of fish as maintaining as much consistency as possible with daily life before the disaster may diminish the psychological effects.
Damage to the national economies of the affected countries on the world stage is believed to be small due to the two most heavily affected sectors, fishing and tourism, to makeup a small fraction of the GDP. Due to this estimation, it is not advised that economic aid (in the form of infrastructure rebuilding for the purposes of economic prosperity) not be a priority at this early stage in the relief effort. However, infrastructure rebuilding for the purposes of providing instant relief for the affected peoples (regardless of whether such infrastructure has any relevancy past the incipient moments of the relief effort) is a ternary priority.
Counterbalancing the negative affects of the Tsunami on the environment, and consequently the people of the nations, should not be underestimated. Previously arable land may have been left sterile by a layer of salt deposited by the far reaching waves of the Tsunami. Providing instant food relief for those who may have previously relied on crops as a food source is highly encouraged as previously alternative means for obtaining food may no longer be available due to the destroyed local market.
With the destruction of homes comes the loss of any and all items that each individual was not carrying on their person. Providing the essentials out of these items is important. Namely, most if not all clothing for individuals was likely destroyed by the Tsunami and so aid in the form of attire should be provided. Donations are an acceptable source of this aid, but it is essential, not only to maximize their use but in some case necessary for any utility to be obtained whatsoever, to match the acceptable guidelines of dress as determined by an anthropological analysis of the affected regions. For example, in India and Thailand, it is not socially appropriate for either women or men to wear shorts in public areas (asiatours.net).
Similarly modest attire (long pants, long sleeve shirts, etc) should be the only thing permitted for donation as the transportation of unusable attire would be a gross waste of resources. Matching the dress prior to the disaster is always preferable (as to maintain as much consistency as possible), and so donations of Saris (an incredibly widespread form of dress for women in India) by manufacturers or direct donators is preferred to mostly any form of dress for women. Due to the textile makeup of Saris (a long piece of cloth that is folded to narrow width), it is also a viable option to invest donated money in cheap cloth to allow for the construction of Saris by refugees.
Aid workers’ actions on site, and the dedication of foreign resources, should be in as much accordance with the traditional beliefs of the affected regions as possible in order to reduce the psychological after-effects of the disaster which may assist efforts to relieve other aspects of life that may be more essential (such as providing shelter and food). For example, it is tradition for the body of the dead to be buried in many of the affected countries and a missing body or the unavailability of resources to bury a body may cause significant distress to the family members of the deceased. If it is not believed that tradition is a sufficient reason to dedicate scarce resources to this endeavor, the burying of bodies also reduces the possibility of a rampant epidemic, which is a certainly pragmatic issue to be avoided.
While the public water of India can normally be tolerated by its inhabitants (this is something to note because visitors of the nation are often unable to), the rampant ground pollution and unsanitary disposal of human waste very likely polluted the public water after the Tsunami. As a result, it is a primary effort of the relief group that fresh, uncontaminated water be accessible to those who previously relied on public water.
Therefore, bottled water (an import that’s not uncommon to India) should be provided to all the affected people as their main source of water. Water purifiers (as long as they also remove the most common diseases that may be a secondary result of the Tsunami) may also be distributed as well as instructions on what are appropriate sources of drinking water.
In conclusion, it is in the interest of the relief group to focus primarily on providing appropriate shelter with separate quarters for religious and class divisions, as well as direct food in accordance by what’s permitted by the various religion restrictions of the nations or utilities for personally developed food, and finally attire that does not violate cultural customs. Monetary and donation resources should be spent in the most cost effective way that will also ensure that the culture of the people affected is respected.
Bibliography: United nations in thailand. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.un.or.th/tsunamiinthailand/Tsunami2004anditsimpact.html asiatours.net. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://asiatours.net/thailand/info/customs.html Pearce, F. (2005, Jan 05). Tsunami's water may leave islands uninhabitable. Retrieved from http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6840. Staff Writer. "Food Supply and Food Security Situation in Countries Affected by the Asia Tsunami" Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 14 January 2005. Puretravel. (03/0). Retrieved from http://www.puretravel.com/blog/2009/03/02/7-things-not-to-do-in-india/. Some “do’s” and “don’ts” for travel (survival) in india. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://faculty.cu-portland.edu/herbhoefer/worldmission/DosDonts.htm Siliconindia Travel. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://travel.siliconindia.com/travel-article/10-Things-You-Should-Never-Do-In-India--aid-914.html